It was Monday 4 June, the day of the Magma 53 launch at the Troubadour Cafe in London. The editors, Kona Macphee and I, left a busy train from Edinburgh to Kings X in what would have been the height of the London rush hour but for the Jubilee celebrations. People had been warned not to travel by underground unless absolutely necessary and the warnings seemed to have worked; the carriages were more than half empty. It was the most pleasant journey through London I have ever experienced, but the signs were ominous. Would people also stay away from the launch? Would the Troubadour be half empty?
We needn’t have been concerned. By 8pm, the cafe was jam-packed. Every seat was taken and many people were standing (apologies to all who had to stand for the entire launch, but I hope it didn’t spoil your enjoyment of it too much). We also had a packed programme: two halves, 11-12 readers (two poems per person) in each half plus our special guest readers, Maura Dooley and Ian Duhig at the end of each half. I MCd the first half and Kona the second. We decided on minimal introductions to keep things moving. And somehow it all came together and worked really well – a memorable night of terrific poetry.
Here are photos from the first half (click on them to make them full-size). I’ll upload part 2 tomorrow. All photos are © Mark Husmann, 2012. All quotes are from poems in Magma 53.